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WhatsApp Business API: The worldwide pricing model [2024]

WhatsApp Business price and costs 2023

WhatsApp Business generated $123k in revenue worldwide as of October 2023. Its popularity across the world has successfully attracted businesses to incorporate its useful features for customer engagement, marketing, and sales.

While the WhatsApp Business App is still free to download, every WhatsApp Business API account has a fee charged per conversation and the pricing varies depending on the country.

Interested in using WhatsApp for your business? It’s not that complicated! We have put together a complete guide to show you how. Check out the WhatsApp Business API pricing and its billing process here.

What is the WhatsApp Business API?

WhatsApp Business API, also known as the WhatsApp Business Platform, is a messaging solution tailored for businesses to effectively improve communication, marketing, and sales.

Users are strongly encouraged to partner with official WhatsApp Business Solution Providers (BSP) that are messaging experts in the field of enterprise businesses and customer communications, for example, SleekFlow, 360dialog, and Twilio to connect with customers via WhatsApp.

Since WhatsApp has such a massive pool of users worldwide (2.78 billion users as of 2023!), businesses can utilize WhatsApp links to make it easier for customers to contact them, and use a WhatsApp Manager to better manage the surge in conversations!

Introduction to the official WhatsApp Business API

WhatsApp has become an essential messaging tool in our daily lives, and if your business is not taking advantage of this, you may be losing out on certain benefits that can bring your brand to the next level.

Other than the WhatsApp that we use for personal messaging, there are two types of accounts WhatsApp has introduced for businesses, which are the WhatsApp Business App and the official WhatsApp Business API, also known as the WhatsApp Business Platform.

Let's take a look at a simple comparison below.

WhatsApp

WhatsApp Business App

WhatsApp Business API / WhatsApp Business Platform

Verified Business Profile (green tick)

X

X

Multi-agent access

X

up to four linked devices

Unlimited

Broadcast messaging

X

At risk of suspension

Unlimited

Managing multiple numbers in one view

X

X

Integration with other software

X

X

CRM, e-commerce software

Application method

Download from Apple App Store / Google Play Store

Download from Apple App Store / Google Play Store

via SleekFlow

Basically, WhatsApp Business API allows your business to explore a number of useful features and generate more sales through messaging. On the other hand, WhatsApp Business App is good for small to medium businesses for limited use.

To read more information about the official WhatsApp Business API, check this out.

WhatsApp's conversation-based pricing model in 2023

Following WhatsApp's announcement of a new pricing model in Feb 2022, switching from notification-based to conversation-based, pricing updates have once again been released to commence on the 1st of June 2023.

In 20234, conversations are still charged according to the two categories divided, which are user-initiated and business-initiated conversations. The latter will be further broken down into subcategories. Similarly, the rates for these categories vary by market. 

User-initiated conversation/service conversation

A user-initiated conversation, which is now identified as a service conversation, is a conversation that begins when messages are sent to reply to customers. This means that the customer is the one who sent your business a message first. For this type of conversation, businesses can send free-form messages instead of just template messages.

Note: businesses have to take note that there is a customer care window in which user-initiated conversations (service conversations) will end 24 hours after the last message your customers sent. After this 24-hour window, businesses will have to begin a new conversation with a template message (business-initiated conversations).

Each month, your WhatsApp Business API account will be entitled to get the first 1000 service conversations for free!

Business-initiated conversation

A business-initiated conversation starts when businesses reach out to customers by sending a message. Only Template Messages can be used for this type of conversation.

Business-initiated conversations are further broken down into 3 categories:

1. Utility conversations

A utility conversation is for businesses to update customers about a transaction or facilitate operations after making a purchase, such as post-purchase notifications or recurring billing statements.

2. Authentication conversations

An authentication conversation is used for sending users one-time notifications or passcodes in the process of signing up or logging into an account.

3. Marketing conversations

A marketing conversation is for broadcasting promotional messages, distributing discount codes, or greeting customers with welcome messages. Any messages that are not counted as utility or authentication conversations or those with utility and marketing content mixed will still be identified as marketing conversations.

Want to know how you can get free entry-point conversations and send messages without being charged? Jump to this section below.

WhatsApp Business API - cost per conversation in USD (2023 & 2024)

WhatsApp Business pricing from June 2023 (valid for 2024):

Market

Business-initiated rate for utility conversations (USD)

Business-initiated rate for authentication conversations (USD)

Business-initiated rate for marketing conversations (USD)

User-initiated rate for service conversations (USD)

Hong Kong

$ 0.0472

$0.0425

$ 0.0732

$ 0.0224

Singapore

$ 0.0472

$0.0425

$ 0.0732

$ 0.0224

Malaysia

$ 0.0200

$0.0180

$ 0.0860

$ 0.0220

United States

$ 0.0150

$0.0135

$ 0.0250

$ 0.0088

United Kingdom

$ 0.0398

$0.0358

$ 0.0705

$ 0.0388

Old WhatsApp Business pricing:

Market

Business-initiated rate (USD)

User-initiated rate (USD)

Hong Kong

$ 0.0745

$ 0.0224

Singapore

$ 0.0745

$ 0.0224

Malaysia

$ 0.0732

$ 0.0220

United States

$ 0.0088

$ 0.0147

United Kingdom

$ 0.0647

$ 0.0388

WhatsApp Pricing Calculator

You can also calculate your messaging cost using SleekFlow's WhatsApp pricing calculator!

WhatsApp Pricing Calculator

Visit Facebook’s website for more information.

Calculate your WhatsApp Business messaging costs

WhatsApp Business API charges businesses per 24-hour conversation.
Estimate your monthly charges now

Factors that affect the WhatsApp Business API pricing

If you are using WhatsApp Business API already, you should understand how everything works. There are a few factors that may affect your monthly spending on WhatsApp Business API.

1. Country/region

The fee for each business-initiated or user-initiated conversation depends on the country your business is located. You may refer to the table above to check the pricing for your region.

2. Customer care window

As mentioned earlier, there is a customer care window in the conversation-based structure created by WhatsApp. If a customer sends a message to you, the 24 hours following the last message received from the customer is known as the Customer Care Window.

Beyond this Customer Care Window, businesses will then have to start the business-initiated conversation again with a Template Message.

So, what are Template Messages? Read the following section about WhatsApp Business API's message type to find out.

3. The entry point of conversations

To get free conversations, start putting up click to WhatsApp ads and CTA buttons on your Facebook Business Page. From March 1, 2023, onwards, as long as your customer messages your business through the CTA button on your click to WhatsApp ads or Facebook Business Page, the messaging window for these free conversations will be extended from 24 hours to 72 hours. This means that you can send any free-form messages or even Template Messages for business-initiated conversations within these 3 days without any charges.

Official WhatsApp Business API's message type

According to Facebook, businesses need to follow specific formats when drafting a notification send-out. More importantly, the content has to be consistent with its terms and policies. To understand that, we must first know the two basic types of messages, Template Messages and Session Messages.

Template Messages

Template Messages are pre-approved message templates for business-initiated conversations. Outbound notifications like delivery alerts and appointment reminders will fall under utility conversations and cannot be used for marketing purposes.

You must use a WhatsApp Template Message if more than 24 hours have elapsed since the user’s last response to you. Any other types of messages sent outside the 24-hour window will fail to reach the user.

For example, if you want your customer to receive this message:

Hi, Harry! Your Order Number: 20200120 has been dispatched. Thank you!

You will need to submit the following template:

Hi, {{1}}! Your Order Number: {{2}} has been dispatched. Thank you!

Hence, the first variable will be the customer name labeled as {{1}}, and the second variable will be the order number labeled as {{2}}.

When creating Template Messages for WhatsApp's approval, you will need to submit them according to the correct category (utility/authentication/marketing). A prompt for re-categorization will appear if the system detects the inaccuracy of the message type.

Session Messages for service conversations

Session Messages, categorized as service conversations, are any messages sent in response to a user-initiated message and do not require pre-approval.

A messaging session starts when a user sends you a message and lasts for 24 hours from the most recently received message.

You can wait for users to message you, and it would be a user-initiated/service conversation, or you can send a Template Message to invite the user to respond, which generates a business-initiated conversation.

User-initiated conversations are not charged unless the business responds with free-form messages or auto replies. In other words, if your business do not reply to customers, the service conversations will not start and fees will not apply.

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Read how they incorporate SleekFlow into their communication strategy to bump up sales.

WhatsApp Business API pricing in Hong Kong

Hong Kong and China are classified under the Rest of Asia Pacific in Meta's WhatsApp rate card. From Feb 2022, the cost per conversation is USD 0.0745 and USD 0.0224 respectively for businesses-initiated and user-initiated conversations.

However, from June 2023 onwards, business-initiated conversations will be subdivided into utility, authentication, and marketing conversations. New charges will apply.

Refer to the table above for the updated pricing.

As for user-initiated conversations, now referred to as service conversations, the charges will remain the same as before.

WhatsApp Business API provider pricing

WhatsApp Business API provider

SleekFlow

360dialog

Twilio

Price (USD)

~$15 /month

$5-25 /month (depending on volume of messages or partner discounts available)

$0.005 /message

*All pricing above does not include the conversation fees required by Meta.

The above table represents the price determined by each WhatsApp Business Solution Provider with their own service pricing.

Twilio charges an additional USD 0.005 (HKD 0.04) on top of WhatsApp Business API’s conversation charges.

As for 360dialog, being a cost-effective solution, only requires a monthly license fee of USD 5-15, which is around HKD 39-117, depending on the partner discount you can get based on the volume of messages you have.

Unlike Twilio, 360dialog has more user-friendly pricing. However, 360dialog does not provide additional functions other than the WhatsApp Business API.

Find out how to get started with WhatsApp Business API through SleekFlow.

Understand the billing process for WhatsApp Business API

Once your business starts implementing the WhatsApp Business API, it is of utmost importance for you to learn how to view payments and understand the invoices.

When creating a WhatsApp Business account, the system requires you to apply for a line of credit. After the application has been approved, a monthly invoice will be shown in the 'Payment Settings' section within your WhatsApp Business Manager.

As mentioned above, the invoice that includes all spending associated with the same WhatsApp Business Manager will be emailed to users during the first week of each month.

The payments can then be settled by bank transfer to the Facebook bank account listed on each invoice. To avoid late payment charges, fees should be paid within 30 days following the invoice date, or businesses who prefer a more streamlined invoicing experience should consider using tools like Zintego Invoice Template.

The billing process is even simpler for SleekFlow customers! All you need to do is top up your WhatsApp credits through the SleekFlow platform and the WhatsApp fees will be automatically deducted depending on your usage.

Summary of WhatsApp pricing updates for 2024

Old pricing before June 2023

Latest pricing as of 2024

Conversation categories

User-initiated, business-initiated

Service, Utility, Authentication, Marketing

Per conversation window

24 hr/session

24 hr/session (24 hrs will be extended to 72 hrs if the user starts a conversation from free entry points)

Free tier conversations

1,000 free conversations monthly for each WABA account

1,000 free user-initiated conversations monthly for each WABA account

Free entry point conversations

User-initiated conversations are not charged if users send a WhatsApp message from Facebook CTA button or click to WhatsApp ads

User-initiated conversations are not charged if users send a WhatsApp message from Facebook CTA button or click to WhatsApp ads (no other conversation categories can be opened when a free-entry point conversation is ongoing)

As mentioned previously, WhatsApp has officially announced the pricing changes for using the WhatsApp Business Platform/WhatsApp Business API. They're allowing businesses to slowly transition into the new pricing structure according to the timeline below:

Effective March 1, 2023

Changes to free entry-point conversations: user-initiated messages through free entry-point conversations will have an extended free conversation window from 24 hours to 72 hours. 

Effective April 1, 2023

Four new conversation categories are introduced:

1. Business-initiated conversations

  • Utility conversations

  • Authentication conversations

  • Marketing conversations

2. User-initiated conversations

  • Service conversations

When creating a message template, one of the four new conversation categories will need to be selected for approval. 

Effective June 1, 2023

New rate cards for utility and marketing conversations will be implemented.

Changes to free tier conversations: For every WABA account, the first 1,000 conversations each month are free for user-initiated/service conversations only.

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